Friday, December 31, 2010

Whats New With Your New Years?

A New Year is coming, and with a new year comes new plans. I'll have new challenges at Pixar, new ideas to flush out, and new goals. I'll talk about them. And of course here is a new sketch I'll reveal from my high-school years.

     This is a pencil sketch of a feeling everyone feels, some say it is the best feeling there is out there: Butterflies in your stomach. It's a feeling that happens when your getting into something good and new. A new part in your life? A new person you like? New Justin Bieber tickets..?  whatever floats your boat I guess. In my experience it mostly happens when you talk (or txt) to the person you like. 

My new plans for the New Year: 
     Do more of my own art on the side. Working on a movie is great, but it's not MY MOVIE, not my ideas, not the choices I would make, and not the freedom of expression that an artist is used to when working on his own work. I love collaborating and working with others, but that urge to create something that is yours is always eating at you. 
    So I will let you in on a little secret, a little grassroots movement some of the guys and me are doing are doing over at Pixar. A group of us thought it was a good idea to work on our own work on the side. (To keep our skills sharp and also our minds fresh) Every Month we will get together and agree on a concept. At the end of the month it MUST be finished. Simple as that. This is to happen every month. Our first month doing this will be January. 
     -we are not collaborating on a short film. Each animator is to do his OWN piece and as long as it is relatable to the concept that was agreed upon, then it's cool. (a concept can be: zombies, goodbyes, explosions, elephants, Eric's mom... you get the point?)
      - Any body can choose the medium they want to work in (2D, 3D, stop motion, etc)
      - 5 to 20 seconds long (so that we won't try to do something epic and not finish)
      - the sky is the limit, as long as you can relate it some how to the concept

So that's that. if you want to join our little grassroots thingy, our concept for January is 'Versus'. I'll post our animations here at the end of the month. stay tuned.

Apart from that, my goals is just to continue to develop and grow. to never stop. :) and to enjoy life in the process. To make a blend of the two, my art and life, we'll see. It's pretty vague. 

So send me some animations at the end of the month and or just do your own thing and let that be that. 

Happy New Years,
-Daniel Gonzales


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Young and In Love??

I came across a drawing from baaack in the day. Probably fresh man year of high-school. (2004 for the old timers that like being reminded how old they are)

Check out the bad Proportions, check out the flatness, check out the BUBBLE SHADING!!! But you know what? All the bad drawing skills don't matter, because I got my thought on paper. I even think it gets across ok. She had my attention and everyone else was invisible when she was around... Sooo that's exactly what I drew. Some people say, 'B,b BUT Danny! It's too hard to draw you feeeeelings and, and, no body want's to do that pansy ass stuff anyway.. it's for sissy's.." 

Those people have no imaginations...

I didn't know much about drawing elements or composition (other wise I wouldn't of made that bulletin board so obnoxious) but I wanted to draw, I needed to draw, and sometimes you have to realize that you don't need something to inspire you when YOU have so much material to work from that comes from with in yourself. And I rather draw from emotion than just draw 2pac or some other dead idol's face over n over again or draw Pikachu for my cool new clear binder cover...

So go draw something...

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Sketching with a fever

Newer sketch I did while I had a fever yesterday.. yes I had a fever on christmas. Get over it. I'm alive.

      This is a regular ball point pen. I was looking at my eye in a mirror.. I don't know if this counts as resting, maybe that's why it took me a while to get better. When your drawing from life, and you have all the time in the world, you have no excuse to be making a bad drawing. Get those details down, work those proportions out, get the shading all flushed out. If you have all the time in the world THEN TAKE YOUR TIME. Spend forty minutes on a drawing! It won't hurt you. Do not be precious with your time. Relax and take it slow. Life is long. I don't care what people say, 60 years IS A LONG TIME. 

-Go draw something,
Daniel Gonzales

Monday, December 20, 2010

Looking back- Composition

       From now until January, I will continuously post old drawings and sketches and say a word or two about it. no long rants like in the past. Right now I'm all about catching up with family and taking it easy and so should you be doing the same. Am I being hypocritical? Yes, because I never stop drawing and working. This one I did when I was around 16. I used pen and mostly pencil. As I was getting portfolio reviews while applying to colleges, this one was pointed out often for it's composition.

      It's very important because it is an aesthetic element that appears in just about any expressive medium. There are a lot of 'rules' to composition such as rule of space, focus point, rule of thirds but always remember

      that these rules will not save your composition if all you do is just apply them to your art work. If you are trying to achieve a specific emotion or meaning with your work then HOW you use these rules becomes just as important as these rules themselves.

      You have to recognize when you might have to break a rule or follow it strictly. In the drawing above, it would of not of done me any good to make an unbalanced composition. If I was going for something different then maybe an unbalanced composition might of suited the drawing better..
      In drawing, composition means controlling your viewers eye. what will they look at first, what do you not want the viewer to focus as much on. In music composition is different and applies more to the piece in a linnet (time) fashion. And In animation, composition can be visual but also linear in time. but it would be called rhythm and texture. Either way you say it you are still composing the movements on the screen: When do they move fast? When do they contrast? Are they communicating the feeling you intend? etc.

So enjoy your holidays and I will post another drawing in the next two days, most likely a sketch.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Attention To Details...

Some people learn by example. So I'm posting a link at the end of this post. When you watch this video look at how the main guy (Brian Wilson) doesn't accept anything but what he has envisioned in his mind.

     When you know what you want to create, you don't settle for any variations. Don't go for accidents that look ok and then take credit for them. Painters: make every color because YOU mixed for it. For drawers: make every line deliberately. Same with animation. Don't accept an anomaly in your animation and say, "Well I was going for sneak walk cycle, but this looks like a double bounce.. sooo I'm going to do a double bounce now."
     You learn nothing like that. Spontaneity is good sometimes, but do not rely on it. Learn how to control details.. The purpose of learning details is so your work not only looks good the first time around but also when people take their time and stop to check out your work. You don't want it to look nice from afar and then when they come close to see it actually looks like shit... In high school that is one thing I worked really hard on, details. It teaches you patience and trains you eye and hand. Here is an example, the following picture I drew back in the summer of my sophomore year in high school. It was for my brother.

      In the close up, you can still see my pencil marks, my goal was to make it so perfect you couldn't tell it was done in pencil. I was close, but the point was that I was trying to control my level of detail and not just let random lines make up my drawing in a span of ten minutes.. TAKE YOUR TIME! There is no rush. You'll be so surprised in how much you can learn when you spend two hours on something..

     Here's a link I promised earlier. when you listen to it, again, just listen to the directors specific choices. he knows what he want's before he starts. And once you have that kind of mind set, your work might be tremendously complex, but it'll be under control because you know every detail and how you want each one to turn out. So check out this video. It's a real treat to see this genius at work. Brian Wilson is one of the greatest song composers of all time. So take your time and listen to all of it. And then go put as much dedication into your own work.

super awesome video

-Daniel Gonzales

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

-This Is How I Started Out..

      Instead of posting more Art work that I have done in the last 2 years I will take you back to show  how it was when I first started. Some favourite work of mine is from high school. My favourite work is not after I went to college, even though my draftsmanship greatly improved when I went to college and even better when I got to Pixar. It is from high school, because in high school all I knew how to do is translate my thought's to paper. When I look back over my work since I've started college I see a stop in that and more of a focus to get my drawing skills better, my life drawing and paintings all greatly improved ten fold but my thinking and creativity was put on hold. I see that happen with a lot of peoples art.

I see that in a lot of blogs and sketch books these days...

      People start to post sketches from sketch books and try to do a drawing a day or post multiple drawings they did that day of people at the park or just draw for the sake of drawing...

-Leonardo De Vinci said it best, "The painter who draws merely by practice and by eye, with out any reason, is like the mirror which copies everything in front of it with out being conscious of it's existence."

       Look at the picture I posted, in high school, people go through some raw emotions, sometimes for the first time, but none the less they are very intense emotions and feelings. This is a drawing i did way back then really fast, even though it sucks, I expressed a feeling. I had drawing skills that were enough to translate what I was thinking better but that wasn't the point. I drew for a reason. I drew to say something, I drew to let things out or express how I felt. I drew and didn't care if my drawing came out right, I cared about if the drawing communicated a thought. And I rather draw like that for the rest of my life than to draw perfect life drawings and masterful acrylic paintings till the universe freezes over. 

        So I have nothing against people who draw for love of drawing, I admit to doing so and filling up my last five sketch books with mostly good drawing nonsense. But again I will stress, what is the point of being an artist, (who's work is an ambassador of humanity for future generations), if you have nothing to say? I have been seeing a lot of reels/portfolios and looking at a lot of blogs. 75% of the things I see are for:
-For entertainment
-For showing off skills (aka trying to get a job)
-or for practice
-to draw/create pretty things because they like how it looks..

       A lot of the reels I see, they just have gags or exercises, and the typical - something that looks cool and bad ass. . (which I understand why, because that's all the time you have when you are doing it for assignments while in school..) These things you choose to make that might reflect your 'taste' but they NOTHING about yourselves. For example, how much do you realy find out about me if I just say I like the old TV show called 'F.R.I.E.N.D.S'? You don't learn anything form that just like I learn nothing form you when you make a short about a a person picking up something heavy....

      I'm guilty of doing the same for the last two years and only recently have I been using my Animation to make comments and reflect thoughts... I went home for Thanksgiving and documented EVERY drawing, sketch, doodle, shit stain, ANYTHING I ever made with a pencil or brush I took a photo of. In those old sketch books of mine there where drawings that showed me my own heart ache, happiness, cockiness, love, fear, hate, regret, want.. it was as if it was a visual diary. These drawings meant something. I look now look at my life drawing, what the HELL is a naked man holding a stick going to tell me about myself??? That I can draw proportions and weight pretty damn accurately!?
      I am so thankful and lucky to have received the training I have during college and high school But now I shall stop 'copying' and imitating what I see and start reflecting something more onto my paper.

There are some people out there that are making wonderful pieces such as Ashley Wood and Ryan Woodward. I hope to see an increase of art someday, but until then I guess I shall lead the charge on my own. 

Remember though, FIRST learn your craft, THEN say something with it.

       My drawing I posted in the beginning of this post was made when I was.. ehh.. in tenth grade, 5th period math...  I never made it into a drawing or finished it. I have tons of drawings to show but I wanted to show this little doodle that I did on one random corner of my sketchbook because it is a perfect example of me drawing down a thought in the moment, never to return to it again until today. During winter break my activity on this blog will start to slow down a bit so to compensate for me being so busy, I shall post every three days, a drawing or doodle from my very old sketch books. So you guys can have something to look at over the holidays. I don't know what I really expected to tell you in this post.. I just needed to get these thoughts out of me and I thought it might do some people good to hear what was going through my mind.

-Daniel Gonzales

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Something That Blew My Mind and Makes Me Feels Small,

     Once in a while something comes along that blow's your mind. I mean really does. I came across an example of what the full potential of animation can do. Not character animation, not experimental animation, but Animation as an Art can do. Everyone should strive to be able to create something that can make someone think and feel and look mazing. Like this piece, I will even go far to say, This is beautiful.

Thought of You from Ryan J Woodward on Vimeo.

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Graph Editor...

         To you Animators who are still wrestling with the computer while trying to learn bigger concepts of animation such as acting: Here is this link of a nice lecture by my good friend Victor Navone. So if you feel your understanding of the graph editor (what we use to animate things on the computer) is not quite there, check out these old lectures I dug up from the past that are very much valid today.

To the newbs out there. Remember one thing:
       That these tutorials show you how to move things. this is not animation. Animation is more than movement. It's a combination of movements that work so well together, that if you would translate all the movement on screen into sound, a symphony should come out. rhythm, texture, and an overall composition is part of the answer. These lectures only show you 'notes', not how to put the notes together to make 'visual music'.

Hope this helps.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

A Thinking Mind pt 3/3

So this is the 3 part of 3 in my rant about art. enjoy...

-Concepts In Art

        So in the last posts I spoke of how (fine) art cannot just look good but also needs have a thought behind it. You cannot just make pretty muffins as an artist. There is no message or thought in your product. The same goes with concept making, you cannot have only strong concepts and not be able to communicate that through your art. If a fine Art piece requires an artist statement in order to understand it, then the aesthetics are off thus failing as art.. Remember your work must be able to please the sences and at the same time make the audience think specifically what you intend them to think.
       You can't just be making concept after concept as if you were a philosopher then try to make art by slapping some dog shit on a canvas and then say, "This represents how the industry treats real artists..." That, I hope everyone would agree, is just a pile of crap on a canvass....  literally.

You must be both, the philosopher and the muffin maker to make a working aesthetic piece and have a concept.

summery- if the concept is strong- but it is presented badly... then FAIL. If it looks good but has no concept. .. why do you even bother creating things??

-More than a Concept
        It is not that simple just apply a concept and be done with your pretty piece.. Here's where I going to get a little dense. Regarding concepts and ideas pertaining to one's piece of art:
 -A piece of fine art induces much thought. BUT does not yield to the possibility of a definite thought, if it's just one idea then it's just a concept.

         Meaning, if your art piece says what it is meant to say right off the bat then the art piece is weak as a whole. The piece of art must invoke images and themes in your mind which surpass the ordinary experience. Remember a good piece of art you find yourself thinking about for a while. One doesn't need to be blunt and have that shock value in order to get one's thought across to his or her's audience. One doesn't need to spoonfeed their audience ideas, you let the art do the talking indirectly.

-You as an Artist
        As artists you might of notice sometimes we don't think the same as the general public does. In our minds there is cognition and imagination. In normal people cognition is the the regular, but not so in us, imagination is dominant. So think about what that allows you to do...

      -As Animators can create an emotion and a thought by just using body language. WALL-E did this for the whole first half an hour flawlessly.
      -As painter can make a composition and with a few colors you can set the whole mood of the painting.. Look at Van Goughs last painting he made before he committed suicide and I dare you to tell me there was no forshadowing...

'Wheatfield with Crows' - by Van Gogh, 1890: last weeks of his life

      -As a musician you can create great wonderful pieces with only six strings. You can create so much emotion with just sound...
And all the other artists out there are capable of so much as well. It is our imagination that allows us to do that. We can recompose the things around us, this allows artist to change the world around them. This is how humans surpass nature. With science, nature is never surprised by what we discover, but with Art nature is dumbfounded in our ability to create wholly never before seen things.

      Not only do we make concepts but we make them into experiences for others to feel. Thats what Art is. All together it becomes more than a concept, it becomes an aesthetic idea.

      A culture is only as great as it's artist and a civilization lives on through it's ideas and art. That's right. Feel that pressure. There are a lot of bad artist out there but nonetheless they are trying. It is up to you to bear humanities future in your creativity with simplicity and elegance.
     One last note before I end this, do not undervalue your personal tastes. 'Taste clips the wings of geniuses' Kant said this and rightly so. You can't just make pure imaginational nonsense. Your taste needs to be the deciding factor when trying to decide when a piece of work is done. When you are judging what stays and what goes, that's is your taste at work. The ability to stand back and evaluate your own art to your liking and from others perspective is crucial. Because it's useless if you have a million ideas but can not reflect on them, if that was the case you would forever combine all ideas all the time and make pure nonsense as long as you live.
So there.
     I hope I gave you enough to THINK about and that it helps you develop your own understanding about what it means to be an artist, to create art, and the idea of beauty.

     Now you should have a good understanding why 'Avatar' was beaten by 'The Hurt Locker' for last year's Best Picture Award at the Oscars. Avatar was about concepts, (the movie told us 'this is good, this is bad' etc etc) as good as the film was made, it had bad aesthetics when compared to the Hurt Locker. It was all on the surface.. Hurt Locker on the other hand went MUCH deeper than Avatar. It showed you a character and gave you the experience and emotion he went through. How he thought, what he felt, all the grey areas with all of life's complications. It made one think about what we value in life. Hurt locker deserved to win and the Academy members saw that as well. So kudo's to Cameran's ex wife for making The Hurt Locker. I bet that stung him a little...

-Daniel Gonzales

PS. I should be responding very soon to your emails if you have sent me one. And if you had given me a business card I going to give priority to the ones who have emailed me first (because their work is usually linked in the email.) So if you gave me a business card I would advise to email me if you want a speedier response. Other wise I will get to you eventually. As for what I will speak of next? Leave a Comment about what you would like to hear. From Blocking in animation, to a little rant on composition. What ever you would like to see. If you want me to publicly critique something for all to see or watch a step by step progress of how I do my work. The sky is the limit. Thanks.